It Is Too Early To Judge The Present Administration On Development –Bobo | Independent Newspapers Limited
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It Is Too Early To Judge The Present Administration On Development –Bobo

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Posted: Apr 9, 2016 at 3:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Wellington Bobo, a prominent Niger Delta Leader and a High Chief of the Gbaramatu Kingdom in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State, is a product of the famous Kwame Nkurumah Ideological Institute, Ghana and one of the peace builders in the region. In this interview with EJIKEME OMENAZU, he speaks on issues concerning the region and the travails of High Chief Government Ekpemupolo alias Tompolo, among others.

The current government came into power on the mantra of change. What do you think is the greatest change Nigeria needs now?

Change is the most potent campaign slogan of the All Progressives Congress (APC), which brought the present government into power. During the campaigns, it was so powerful that it caught the nation like a wild fire. I want to say that it is good to talk about change. Nigerians need change in several areas. Most importantly, there is need for change in people’s reorientation and total commitment toward building a new Nigeria of our dreams.

Do you see a reflection of this change in the way President Muhammadu Buhari administration has been handling issues relating to the development of the Niger Delta region?

It is too early to judge the present administration on development. However, I must stress here that change is a gradual process. Change needs time, especially when it involves the repair and restoration of collapsed structures and putting them in place in other to achieve functional results for the good of the greater number of people.

As a Niger Delta elder, how do you see to the reported cancellation of the Maritime University, Okenrenkoko in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State?

No right thinking person will support the cancellation of the project. The issue needs to be revisited or else it may lead to the return of youth restiveness since the youths will be the greatest beneficiaries of the institution. The Niger Delta youths have for long been denied such opportunities of getting higher education within the region. The establishment of the university is an opportunity for them to acquire specialised education in an area that will lead to their empowerment and the development of the region.

Do you see the cancellation as a political script of former Rivers State governor and now Transport Minister, Rotimi Amaechi, Michael Johnny, Ayiri Emami, Timipre Sylva, and others?

I do not want to blame anybody. These people are all our eminent sons. But, I will advice the president to use his wisdom to handle the issue seriously and timely as it is capable of bringing anarchy to the Niger Delta region if not properly handled.
The president should use his wisdom to resolve it as the institution will impact positively on the people of the Niger Delta and give them a sense of belonging.

What do you make of the travails of High Chief Government Ekpemupolo alias Tompolo in the hands of the EFCC?

The EFCC is an agency of the government that has the right to invite anyone who they feel has a question to answer. But, this should not be done due to political differences. I do not really see the arrest and detention of Tompolo as a political witch-hunt. It is in pursuit of the war against corruption. There is the need to clean our society of corruption and corrupt practices.

Would you say that Tompolo was really involved in the three-day bombing of crude oil and gas pipelines in Delta State?

I am not convinced about his involvement. Criminals can come from anywhere to cause distraction so as to involve the immediate communities and anyone.

But, the Warri Ijaw Peace Monitoring Group (WIPMG) has allegedly fingered an Itsekiri leader, Chief Ayiri Emami, of being behind the bombing of the oil pipelines and that he should be questioned by security agents. What is your reaction on this?

That is an individual opinion. The security agents have the right to invite anyone for questioning.

Would you agree that the government was persecuting Tompolo because he refused to join the All Progressives Congress (APC)?

No, I do not think so. Tompolo also visited President Buhari and pledged his support for his administration, although he still remained a People’s Democratic Party (PDP) member. From available records, he has not defected to any other party. Tompolo that I know is a man of integrity and has his personal opinion on what party and who to work with.

Would you say that militarisation is the solution to the renewed bombing of oil and gas in the Niger Delta region?

 

The answer is ‘Yes’ and ‘No’. The use of military action, if not properly handled, can lead to serious crisis. But, the government should engage the people in dialogue involving host communities, companies in the region and security agents to bring a lasting peace.

Don’t you think the recent attack on oil pipelines is capable of starting another round of Ijaw-Itsekiri war?

Both the Ijaw and Itsekiri ethnic groups should embrace dialogue on a serious note. They should not allow a repeat of our bitter experiences in the past.

What is your advice for President Muhammadu Buhari and the EFCC over the case of High Chief Government Ekpemupolo Tompolo?

Their matter needs to be handled with care by the government and all the stakeholders concerned.  All Ijaw elders in the Niger Delta region should go into discussion with President Buhari and plead with him to handle Niger Delta issues with upmost care.

What are your last words for Nigerians and the government?

Nigerians should be patient with President Muhammadu Buhari. It is too early to judge the present administration, especially on development projects. President Buhari needs a methodical approach to the various issues affecting the nation. The greatest change Nigeria needs now is individual reorientation and total commitment towards building a new Nigeria of our dream. There is no need for the return of full-blown militancy in the Niger Delta region. If the Niger Delta issues are properly handled through dialogue involving host communities, multinationals and security agents, there will be peace. The government needs a rethink on the Maritime University, because to completely cancel it may lead to youth restiveness and we will once more be back to square one. So, it should be revisited by the government with all seriously and on time by President Buhari. This issue needs to be handled with wisdom. Generally, President Buhari should handle all issues relating to the Niger Delta with upmost care and wisdom. He should not be rigid, but should listen to the salient issues and the popular will of the people.